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October 31, 2012


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What do you think of the words from Lao Tzu when he said,"The Tao that can be explained in not the Tao"?

Shawn, I like those words.

There are many translations of them, but the gist behind them is that Tao is not a thing, but an everchanging neverending process. The universe "Tao's." There isn't a Tao, though many people mistakenly look upon Tao as some sort of God.

It's like trying to explain a flowing river. Once you try to capture it in fixed description, you've missed the reality of it.

Not that I am a Taoist, but I find it interesting that you default to that I may have been referring to Tao as being a God as we humans envision. When one even thinks of the word God, that is not Tao. Chapter four of the Tao Te Ching mentions;

I don't know who gave birth to it.
It is older than God.

And why is it older than God? Because with the word God, its origin is a human attempt and definition or a mental image of trying to explain the unexplainable. It is an attempt to bring the cognitious unknowable into an image of knowing or into the human realm that is debatable.

We look out to the universe and we see the physical space and mass that illogically and logically has no end. Chaung Tzu likens this human limited mental image as being a frog living in a well, He said, "Can a frog in a well know what the ocean is?". Though a frog in a well cannot know or scientifically prove what an ocean is, it does not remove the fact that the ocean exist. Our Science cannot prove what is beyond our mind to know but it does not change objective reality from existing.

Faith in a mental image of a God-entity is absurd. But naked faith, not clothed in mental images, can have its place in the human experience.

Shawn, I didn't mean to suggest that you thought Tao = God. This is just a common mistake. I did think that because some people say "God is mysterious" and Lao Tzu also says "Tao is mysterious" (in so many words), the inability to describe God accurately could be illogically used to critique my love of Taoism, since I often disparage the inability of God-believers to clearly describe their God. To me, a process and a thing are very different. You seem to agree.

Tao, God, Emptiness, Void, Nothingness, etc. are all dualistic wordage to point to the non-conceptual, non-duality.

So, in dualistic terms it's ok to write:


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